We all want our dogs to be happy and healthy, but sometimes we don’t know when they aren’t. Obesity in dogs has become somewhat normalized, making it difficult for owners to know when their dog is overweight or what the best methods are for managing their weight. There are plenty of secondary threats to an obese dog’s health, so knowing when their weight is an issue and how to manage it is a skill all dog owners should have.
As one might expect, the excess weight an obese dog is carrying will wreak havoc on their joints. If the weight isn’t managed, the dog can develop arthritis or experience joint injury. Arthritis is a painful, degenerative condition that can be slowed but not halted. Keeping arthritis at bay is a strong reason to make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight.
Breathing is essential to survival. All creatures do it without thinking about it, but if a respiratory issue is present, your pet will be forced to concentrate on each breath. Obesity can exacerbate any existing respiratory issues, such as laryngeal paralysis or the ailments associated with brachycephalic airway syndrome.
It goes without saying how serious heart disease is. Abdominal obesity in dogs in particular is a known factor in dogs developing heart issues such as an enlarged heart and valvular heart disease, among others. Dogs with heart disease need a specialist to closely monitor their condition and make recommendations for treatment.
What To Do
There is a simple way you can determine whether your dog might be overweight or obese, it’s called the rib test. This is an easy test to perform, simply run your hands down your dog’s sides. If you can feel their ribs easily, your dog is likely not overweight. If you cannot feel their ribs or have to press in to feel them, your dog could be overweight or obese.
If your dog is overweight, one of the first things you should do is contact your veterinarian. Have your dog checked for any underlying medical issues that could be causing the weight gain such as hypothyroidism. If they come back clear, your dog should be put on a diet. Food intake is the main cause of obesity in dogs. Discuss with your veterinarian what the appropriate amount of food is and have a scheduled feeding time for your dog so they get used to the routine. Don’t forget to exercise your dog daily. Have a play session, go for a walk, or take them to the dog park to help get them moving. Before you know it, your dog will be healthy and happy.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.